The Law of Contact

The Great Commandment (October 2, 1939)

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The Great Commandment
 

Released on October 2, 1939: A rebellious zealot who is part of an underground movement to attack the Romans who are oppressing them meets the King of Kings.

Directed by Irving Pichel

The Actors: John Beal (Joel), Maurice Moscovitch (Lamech), Albert Dekker (Longinus), Marjorie Cooley (Tamar), Lloyd Corrigan (Jemuel), Warren McCollum (Zadok), Ian Wolfe (tax collector), Olaf Hytten (Nathan), Anthony Marlowe (singer), Lester Sharpe (first zealot), Marc Loebell (Judas), Harold Minjir (Andrew), Earl Gunn (wounded man), Albert Spehr (second zealot), George Rosener (merchant), John Merton (under-officer), Perry Ivins (first elder), D'Arcy Corrigan (blind man), Max Davidson (old man), Stanley Price (second elder), John Abbott (starving beggar), Belle Mitchell (Jemuels wife), Irving Pichel (voice of Jesus Christ), Rose Plumer (townswoman), Evelyn Selbie (townsan).

 

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Banned in Boston!

When I was a youngster I often heard the phrase 'Banned in Boston.' If a book or a movie were 'banned in Boston,' it meant that I wanted to experience it. I was part of the rebellious 1970's with long hair and a contrarian spirit. It has been said by many that 1939 was the greatest year of all time for the production of motion pictures. This movie, produced in 1939, was not only banned in Boston, but banned all across America by the Hays Office - the official censor of all motion pictures produced in the U.S. When the Hays Office was established Will Hays ran it, but for the next twenty years from 1934 through 1954, Philadelphia born Joseph Breen alone was the ultimate judge of what could and could not be shown to a motion picture audience in the U.S. The story revolves around a man who is a zealot . . . a 'terrorist' if you will . . . who is part of an underground group of rebels who will kill any Roman soldier that they find and try to kick out the Roman soldiers and leaders that are oppressing everyone in the land of Judah. At this time in history the Great Roman Empire had conquered and controlled much of the civilized world. Passover is approaching for the people of Judea, and there is talk of a great leader, a 'Messiah' that has come to lead the people to freedom from the Romans. So goes the story leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth, and the scene of Christ on the cross . . . . which censor Joseph Breen believed was too real, too brutal, too explicit for the eyes of common citizens. What a shame that this footage seems to be lost forever. The director, Irving Pichel, had to re-shoot the ending, but you won't be disappointed, because the message gets through in a very unique way just the same. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with warm melted butter on it and enjoy the show.

Albert Dekker and John Beal
Albert Dekker and John Beal
Albert Dekker and his spear, in The Great Commandment
Albert Dekker and his spear, in The Great Commandment
D'arcy Corrigan and John Beal
D'arcy Corrigan and John Beal
John Beal and Albert Dekker
John Beal and Albert Dekker
John Beal and Maurice Moscovitch
John Beal and Maurice Moscovitch
John Beal and Warren McCollum
John Beal and Warren McCollum
John Beal as Joel in The Great Commandment
John Beal as Joel in The Great Commandment
John Beal finds Warren McCollum dead at the hands of a Roman soldier
John Beal finds Warren McCollum dead at the hands of a Roman soldier
John Beal listens to Olaf Hytten talking about the man who would be King
John Beal listens to Olaf Hytten talking about the man who would be King
John Beal woos Marjorie Cooley in The Great Commandment
John Beal woos Marjorie Cooley in The Great Commandment
Lloyd Corrigan and Maurice Moscovitch discuss a marriage between their children
Lloyd Corrigan and Maurice Moscovitch discuss a marriage between their children
Lloyd Corrigan as Jemel the inn keeper
Lloyd Corrigan as Jemel the inn keeper
Marc Loebell and John Beal
Marc Loebell and John Beal
Marjorie Cooley as Tamar, daughter of the inn keeper
Marjorie Cooley as Tamar, daughter of the inn keeper
Maurice Moscovitch as Lamech the scribe
Maurice Moscovitch as Lamech the scribe
Warren McCollum and John Beal
Mary Brian and Patsy Kelly watch the craps game